squat·​ter | \ ˈskwä-tər How to pronounce squatter (audio) \
squattered; squattering; squatters

Definition of squatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go along through or as if through water ducks squattering to the shore



Definition of squatter (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that squats: such as
a : one that settles on property without right or title or payment of rent
b : one that settles on public land under government regulation with the purpose of acquiring title

Examples of squatter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the turn of the 20th century, Tucson only had one public facility for consumptive patients, St. Mary’s Hospital and Sanatorium, along with a sprawling squatter’s camp known as Tentville. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "A century before coronavirus, Arizona was a haven for people fleeing another fearsome disease," 11 May 2020 The land was purchased by Oliver Phelps, but was inhabited only by squatters and hunter/trappers. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Granger Township celebrates the 1820s in 2020," 17 Feb. 2020 Before long, smoke from the fires of simple timber homes marked the presence of a different kind of settler than the Virginian gentleman farmer: the intrepid woodsman squatter. Longreads, "In Pocahontas County, Deep Divisions and a Gruesome Discovery," 22 Jan. 2020 Title issues, and problems with a squatter, complicated the process, Hagestad said. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Irving demolition crew tears down wrong Vickery Place home in ‘heartbreaking’ error," 22 Feb. 2020 Another squatter, in a house owned by a developer boyfriend, is one of the groupies, Tami Rowland. Charles Mcgrath, New York Times, "A Winning Baseball Novel by the Editor of The Paris Review," 3 Feb. 2020 Fortunately, despite squatters, followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and other transitory residents, the house retained its fir floors, pocket doors and other original features. oregonlive, "Can Darcelle, the world’s oldest drag queen, still be fabulous while sequestered during a pandemic? Oh, darling, yes," 30 Mar. 2020 The Wherehouse burned down in 2017 after decades of decline, from candy warehouse to commune to punk scene center to, finally, a filthy squatter spot. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Histories of Anchorage: Why isn’t there a J Street? And other reader questions," 23 Mar. 2020 The destructive little squatters are rapidly spreading to waters above the Mason-Dixon Line that are inhabited by more genteel species. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "These 8 Aquatic Invasive Species are Threatening Fisheries Across the U.S.," 7 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squatter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of squatter


1785, in the meaning defined above


1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squatter



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Time Traveler for squatter

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The first known use of squatter was in 1785

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Cite this Entry

“Squatter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squatter. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for squatter



English Language Learners Definition of squatter

: someone who lives in a building or on land without the permission of the owner and without paying : someone who squats


squat·​ter | \ ˈskwä-tər \

Legal Definition of squatter

: a person who occupies real property without a claim of right or title

Note: In most jurisdictions, a squatter cannot gain title to land through adverse possession because adverse possession requires possession of the property under a claim of right or color of title.

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More from Merriam-Webster on squatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for squatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squatter

Spanish Central: Translation of squatter

Britannica English: Translation of squatter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about squatter

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